Silverdale Mortgage Company Becomes Part of Regional Mortgage Banker

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Olympic Northwest Mortgage is Becoming Network Mortgage Services.

Olympic Northwest is Becoming Network Mortgage Services

We've always liked Kitsap County and we already had a business relationship with Walt and Kay, so it seemed like it could be a good fit

On October 1, 2009, Silverdale-based Olympic Northwest Mortgage began the transition to become Network Mortgage Services. "Actually, the transition began earlier this year when we became a division of Network Mortgage," states Walt Bailey, Branch Manager for Network Mortgage and principal with Olympic Northwest. In late 2008, Bailey said he and business partner Kay Arnold started looking at their options when it became apparent that regulatory changes caused by the national mortgage meltdown were going to make it extremely difficult to continue to operate as usual. "We had two choices; keep doing what we were doing and risk going under or become part of a larger, stronger operation," Bailey says. Bailey met with executives from Network Mortgage Services in early December for what would be the first of several meetings over the course of the coming months. "We've always liked Kitsap County and we already had a business relationship with Walt and Kay, so it seemed like it could be a good fit," states Kevin Lane, President of Network Mortgage Services. Lane says that the company has been doing business in Kitsap County for years but mostly through local mortgage brokers, who originated the loans, packaged them up, and shipped them off to Network Mortgage for underwriting and funding.

On April 1, 2009, Olympic Northwest Mortgage became a division of Network Mortgage Services, but continued to operate under its existing identity. Lane says that they didn't want to shock the system by creating massive change day one. "The biggest change we brought started with adding veteran underwriter Vivian Hall to the office staff. One thing that we felt was absolutely crucial was having underwriting authority, including government underwriting, at the branch." Lane states that most mortgage companies tend to go the opposite direction and consolidate processing and underwriting in a regional or national central office. "We think that's foolish, highly inefficient and results in lower customer service and satisfaction," Lane added.

"It's a natural fit," stated Bailey, "Our strong sense of community has been an important tradition at Olympic Northwest and being part of a larger, but still local company allows us to keep that. Simply put, it's a win-win for our employees, our borrowers, and our real estate partners." As it turns out, Bailey and Arnold's prediction about the regulatory challenges couldn't have been more accurate. Bailey says that the percentage of loans originated by mortgage brokers appears to be at an all time low and dropping. "Brokers originated nearly 80% of mortgage loans just a few years back. Today, I think the number is closer to 20%, or even less," stated Bailey.

Network Mortgage, founded in 1987, is privately held and is headquartered in Snohomish County. The company originates loans in multiple states through a retail loan center, six branch offices, and its wholesale lending channel. It maintains approvals with HUD, VA, multiple institutional investors and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).

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